Hundreds of years ago, the Catholic Church ruled suicide as a spiritual issue and consigned suicides to be outside God’s grace. Modern science, however, isn’t as judgmental towards people who have suicidal thoughts. People can become more likely to commit suicide they go through a major life change, such as losing a job, getting divorced, or losing a loved one.
Sometimes you may even have suicidal thoughts without being able to pinpoint exactly why. It’s important to take the following actions to reduce your risk, while also reaching out for help to a trusted professional.
1. Get Away from the Danger Area
If you’re an alcoholic, people can sensibly tell you to avoid bars to keep away the temptation. The same goes if you’re entertaining thoughts of suicide. You need to stay away from places and circumstances that can trigger these thoughts.
Avoid going to certain places that hold a painful emotional connections, and avoid abusing drugs and alcohol, as these can increase the propensity of suicidal thoughts and actions.
2. Change Your Focus
There are several possible ways for to shift attention away from your thoughts of suicide and other negative thoughts about harming yourself. You can try each one and see which is most suitable for you.
- Muscle relaxation. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, you may realize that you’re automatically tightening your muscles. You may be making fists or flexing your jaw. If you realize this, you may want to try relaxing your muscles such as slowly opening your hands to get rid of the fists.
- Visualize. You can imagine yourself with someone you care about, or that you’re in a safe and serene place. You can also look to your faith.
- Focus on what’s around you. Close your eyes, and then open them and look at your surroundings more closely. Try to describe what you see. Then expand it to your senses of hearing and smell. Take in the world around you, and this can distract you from your negative thoughts.
3. Relax Your Breathing
When you’re thinking negative thoughts, your body may often automatically resort to breathing faster. You can counter this by taking several deep breaths. Slowly inhale and exhale, perhaps four seconds in and then four seconds out.
Slowing your breathing slows down your heart rate so you feel more relaxed and at ease. You also supply more oxygen to your brain so you’re more clear-headed.
4. Tell Yourself That You Can Recover from These Thoughts
You may be punishing yourself internally because you’re having suicidal thoughts, but you shouldn’t. Instead, you can remind yourself that others have had similar thoughts and it’s possible to recover from this type of situation. Even those who have unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide have been able to recover their desire to live.
5. Reach Out for Help
If you’re not sure that you can deal with these thoughts all by yourself, there’s no harm in asking for help. You don’t have to deal with this problem alone. Reach out. Be with people who care about you and whom you care about. Don’t isolate yourself.
Aside from friends and family, you can also keep a health line number handy on your phone so you can talk to someone when you feel the need. A professional therapist can also help, if you think that you’re unable to deal with this problem with simple measures.